Wednesday, December 31, 2008

we takes ovr 4 2009, kthnx carlos!

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Sunday, December 28, 2008


In the shower today, I thought "Maybe I should turn WCW into a LOL cat?" Of course, as one usually finds in the recombinatory world of the Internet, where one meme attaches on every possible apt object unto infinity, it was already done. Twice! And both times with the same poem ("This is Just To Say," of course, full of lol-cat sheepishness . . . although they would have been more funny if plums were replaced by CHEEZBURGER!) Stock photos of William Carlos Williams shift between the angry "tunite i peez on efrytin u oen" face and the "u gots new bird? ai hadn't noticed" face. But I decided to stick to cats cause iz bing lazee 4 ez funee. Paterson is not as ez to transform into lol-Caterson (although the Bible seems to be; maybe because no "ceiling cat" in Caterson. Say it, jus CHEEZBURGER.)

Of course, Ezra Pound was already speaking LOLcat-speak way back:

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Benevolent Indifferent Attention

A small fragment and continuation of an earlier Ginsberg talk on Williams, this file touches upon Williams and Buddha mind, the "naive" poetics of Marsden Hartley, the capture of raw perception, green armpit writing, and dodging the social brain. Ginsberg starts in a particularly winning way, then seems to get rattled by a question that sends him into a train of truisms about particulars and universals, but then towards the end, he gets back into his groove, but the question is, is his "groove" a manifestation of social brain or buddha mind? Is this distraction the moment when poetics has a chance to "converge upon mindfulness?" Or is it less to be found in his routine, and more in the clacking of folding chairs in the last seconds of the file? By the way, I'm wondering how the buddha mindfulness flashing in the moment of first capture really relates to a "poem is a machine made of words"?

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Monday, December 15, 2008

enter these starved and broken pieces

I don't know I don't know I don't know. Managing to forge a "whole" work out of this mess, the operation keeps getting interrupted for long stretches of time. As always, the underlying intuition is that this is the whole, that there is nothing to wait for, here we are, etc. I withheld certain parts of the mix that I put together in May while at the Visual Studies Workshop, since I thought posting them would preempt any release of this "whole;" but now listening to what I had managed to put together, while taking account of what has been collected in the meantime, I know it will all change again. Or maybe I'm closer to the end than I'm letting myself admit. In any case, I've decided to post the significantly new parts of the bigger work here, given they will probably entirely change or be folded into a different continuum. Current misgivings annotated.
Possible Intro (1 min. 35 sec.)
well, even though it's intentionally clunky, for something that I've spent so much time on it's probably not an appropriate opening, especially since the pandering, sterile beat gives it the feel of a public radio PSA on monitoring your cholesterol.
It's the locality! (1 min. 33 sec.)
I love Williams' quote that art is not "putting sugar on cake." A crucial bit from the PennSound bytes. Exposition, exposition so . . . yawn? (one person has told me it's boring for those who already know Williams-- the core audience; evidence of constant my schizophrenia concerning who it's for and who will listen. But wait, it's not all sugar on cake, buddy!)
Have you ever been to Paterson? (2 min. 5 sec.)
Cloying? Also, when editing, I had a lot of trouble making the Carole Maso samples really sound like they fit; I still think they might be a little off, even though they provide some crucial connective material and diversity of voice (I found myself overusing Bob Perelman and Lytle Shaw throughout, so any chance I had to get other material in, I took it.)
Blocked (4 min. 31 sec.)
I think this section is the most successful at doing what I wanted the piece to be doing, a mix between informational and musique concrete elements. I do think that, as it goes on it succumbs to the banality of overused effects, which, while may have some place in a more live setting, I think falls a little flat here after a while. For some reason, I think the loops and delays and filter sweeps went on for so long because I wanted to get some particular sound bites in, but but by the time that they fade up into the mix, it already feels like they've been "said" on a subconscious level.

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Friday, December 12, 2008


I swear, the last (and first) time I was at Mt. Rainer, the park signs had hieroglyphics for "saxifrage." I called the park ranger to confirm this memory, but all I got were dead answering machines (of course they are not at their phones, they are in the wild!) I usually take pictures of these things, so I feel addled having no evidence to back me up, but I'm not going to drive all the way back to the great mountain on the near horizon just for this one post. Believe me when I say that saxifrage is plentiful enough that even if a hieroglyphic for this flower were not to be found, it should be there in some imagined guide. Because the word has a hieroglyphic nature that Williams would have appreciated. From the Latin, "saxi" and "frage" combines two favorite Williams concepts: fragmentation and rock. That no flower appears in the etymology is perhaps also what drew Williams to it as he inspiration for "no ideas but in things." For the flower emerges, invisible as it were to the object pieces of language, but indebted to them nevertheless, in the same way that meaning breaks between elements of montage rather than in separate film cells. Both breaking (of the rock) and building (of the flower) are combined here in a single, slow geologic complex. Here is Williams' poem about saxifrage, the original locus for Paterson's "no ideas but in things." It is a deceptively simple poem, somewhat pastoral, but so much about writing itself that one is unsure where the metaphors stop and where things begin.

A Sort of a Song

Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
-- through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
the rocks.

When Williams says "let the snake wait under/his weed" it seems like he's saying: give that to the snake, it don't interest me none. Does that carry over to writing with words? Is Williams NOT writing with words (my interpretation above that the poetry happens BETWEEN the words might carry this out)? In this case, a metaphor that reconciles people to the stones would be the problem with metaphor. However, the "let" could also be a kind of laissez-faire attitude, a benediction even. This is what snake does. Amen. This is what words do. Amen. Yet, is this the natural order of things? "Let" could also announce the trope of hysteron proteron (since the snake is waiting and the words are striking: a distinct reversal). If all these are true, he's caught in a kind of disabling polysemy. So he returns to simple commands (to himself or to the reader). Compose. (but then he takes it a step further, and hits upon the mot juste.) Invent! He is not reconciled to writing and metaphor, but is split from it (even as it does the splitting, but in splitting it himself he (sort of) makes a song of it, or at least emerges as a kind of unified being, one, not two (although there is a two within the one.)

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Metadata Now

Now New Jersey as an Impossible Object has some metadata, although, since this blog is probably a kind of metadata itself, then . . . so . . . there is no data. (How do you say that in French?) That would imply an informational core that even the Falls of Williams does not really provide. Probably the only reason I didn't add these tags so far is that, since Blogger calls them "labels," they were invisible to me (compare the annoying way that Apple insists on using the confusing and vaguely patronizing command "Share" rather than the less value-laden "Export.") I probably have to comb through these one more time, as I did them today in a fairly casual manner while procrastinating from other more official demands on my time. As with any index, it's the concepts that tend to be hard to organize; while "no ideas but in things" was pretty easy to trainspot, there are other concepts and themes I'd like to map out. The proper name is, of course, the easiest way through, and I try to avoid indexing what is in truth only a dropped name, but the index is name-dropping elevated to a science, afterall, so I am not too hesitant to have Bob Fosse, Bunk Johnson and Lao Tzu vying for Marcia Nardi's attentions at this cocktail party of the mind. And the proper name is its own intoxicant. Since my geovistor's map is lighting up, I guess this deluge of proper names is triggering all manner of Google alerts, although I didn't think merely tagging would affect those. As our friends at for godot have so aptly illustrated with their Issue 1 publication, the name is a strange attractor in the chaotic system we call "poetry." Or, if there are any Sokals out there ready to pounce on my physics metaphor, let's just say simply that the name is driftwood, clung to in a data tsunami. Or if there is anyone who sniffs at such a pedestrian metaphor, we can say that the name names the name naming name, namely "name" named "Name."

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